Page To Screen: Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple

A whip-smart, hysterical dramedy about a family in crisis after the disappearance of its brilliant, misanthropic matriarch.

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

This divinely funny, many-faceted novel...leaves convention behind. Instead, it plays to Ms. Semple's strengths as someone who can practice ventriloquism in many voices, skip over the mundane and utterly refute the notion that mixed-media fiction is bloggy, slack or lazy.... The tightly constructed WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE is written in many formats-e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and even an emergency-room bill for a run-in between Bernadette and Audrey. Yet these pieces are strung together so wittily that Ms. Semple's storytelling is always front and center, in sharp focus. You could stop and pay attention to how apt each new format is, how rarely she repeats herself and how imaginatively she unveils every bit of information. But you would have to stop laughing first.―Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Delightfully droll.... Semple...cuts a wry slice of a life-one that's populated by private school helicopter parents, obsessively eco-conscious neighbors, and green-juice swilling, TED-talking husbands-and one that's sharp enough to make us feel slightly relieved about not having to live anywhere quite so bucolic.―Megan O'Grady,Vogue

The characters in Where'd You Go, Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure. ―Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

Richard Linklater directs this adaptation of Maria Semple's 2012 novel, which stars Cate Blanchett as Bernadette, who disappears. Her 15-year-old daughter, Bee (Emma Nelson), sets out to find her and discovers her troubled past in the process. The movie co-stars Billy Crudup and Kristen Wiig.

“Something unexpected has come up,” says Bernadette Fox, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, in the new trailer for Where’d You Go, Bernadette. “There’s much more explanation coming, but I have this one shot.” It seems an odd thing for Bernadette to confess as she seems to have it all, living in Seattle with her loving husband (Billy Crudup) and daughter (Emma Nelson). But while on the surface everyone looks happy, a mystery is about to unravel.

The new clip opens on Bernadette and her family happily enjoying time together, playfully discussing her daughter being promised anything she wanted if she got perfect grades (it was once a pony, now it’s a trip to Antarctica.( RollingStones )

Maria Semple's first novel, This One is Mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place